“Artifacts that Invoke the Aura and Authority of the Ancient”
Katheryn M. Linduff, Professor, History of Art and Architecture
Identity Constellation Workshop
The reuse or remaking of ancient objects to fuel the elites’ taste for the ancient in China began very early—at least as early as the Shang as witnessed in the collection of jades in the Tomb of Lady Hao at Anyang (c. 1250 BCE). Perhaps a collector herself, Fuhao took to her burial carved jades of previous periods as well as some modeled after earlier pieces. During the Western Han Dynasty (2nd c. BCE) replication of objects including ones aimed at funerary use was institutionalized by the government itself and ancient items were reworked to suit the current practice. Transmission took three forms that allowed: first, reuse of an ancient original; second, reworking of the ancient object; and third, copying and/or remaking of the ancient model.
This process continued in China and attention to the past and the selective revival of ‘Golden Age’ antiquities took place especially in the Song, Ming and Qing Dynasties when collections of ancient materials were formed on a regular basis. This talk will examine biographies of these later bronzes and explore the forces in elite culture that repeatedly created icons of the past in the form of early ritual bronzes.